Perfect Polenta - Quick, Easy, and Vegan!

This is a very quick and simple version of the Italian classic. Granted, this is a major shortcut compared to the traditional method which takes an hour or more to cook. However, this version is still delicious and makes homemade polenta accessible for people who wouldn’t otherwise try it. As this is also a kid pleaser, many parents I know (including myself) have made this a staple in their repertoire. There are several ways to serve this, so you will want to read through this recipe entirely before you begin. A delicious variation (if you will be serving it as firm, pan-fried polenta) is to stir additions into the polenta while it is still creamy. Rosemary, fresh or roasted garlic, organic lemon zest, and sautéed, sliced mushrooms all work beautifully for this.

Creamy Polenta with Variations

1 cup dry polenta meal
3¼ cups water
2 tablespoons non-hydrogenated margarine
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast powder
¾ teaspoon sea salt (or less if you prefer)

1. Place the polenta and water in a medium saucepan and whisk (with a wire whisk or fork) to remove lumps. Cook over medium heat, whisking continually, until it begins to thicken. Stirring the polenta constantly will prevent it from spattering, clumping, and other forms of disorderly conduct.
2. Once it begins to thicken a bit, turn the heat down to the lowest setting your burner can manage. Continue to cook, whisking very often, until it is thick (usually about 5-10 minutes).
3. Stir in the margarine and allow it to melt. Once it has melted, mix it in well. Finally, add the nutritional yeast and salt. Stir the mixture until everything is well combined.

Serves 4-6; 30 minutes or under! GF/Blue (according to the health guidelines in my books)

To serve creamy style:
If serving the polenta immediately, it is delicious just plain. However, you can top it with tomato sauce or soy cheese. If desired, you may add just a little more water to the portion you will be eating as creamy polenta. If you are reserving some polenta to make “firm style,” do not add any extra water to that part.

To serve firm style:
Option 1: Place the cooked, warm polenta in plastic wrap and roll it up into a log formation (like you see in stores). After it has chilled in the fridge for several hours (or overnight) and become firm, it can then be cut into rounds. Sauté the firm polenta rounds in a little oil or margarine over medium heat until golden on both sides (about 3-5 minutes on each side).
Option 2: You can press the creamy polenta into a pan. Cover and refrigerate for several hours (or overnight). Once it has chilled and become firm, you can cut it into squares (or fun shapes using cookie cutters). Finally, pan-fry the shapes in a little oil or margarine until golden on both sides.

New Giveaway!!

Well, hello there, lovelies! And how are you on this fine and fanciful day? Thanks so much to all who participated in my last guys really made it fun!! And the winner, Janet, is super excited about her new Japanese books by Miyoko Schinner.

So, today - being the new day that it is - brings with it the promise of yet another giveaway. When I was in San Francisco this month, speaking at the World Veg Fest, I met the nicest lady. (Well, I met a crap-ton of nice ladies - it was VegFest after all!!) But this particular nice lady was the owner of Animal Matters, the makers of a children's game called Fur and Feathers. She was even nice enough to offer to watch my booth while I was speaking. I didn't even have to ask! So, she gains major bonus points in my book for being a sweetie - and if I didn't know already, I would have discovered this fact by playing this board game. It is, simply put, pure awesomeness.

My daughter is flat-out addicted to it and wants to play it with me, her friends, and pretty much anyone she can grab off of the street. (We live on a friendly street.) You win the game by saving animals (via the "Choices Cafe," "Animal Shelter," or by rescuing animals from the farm). I think my daughter's exact words upon first playing this game were: "I really love this game for two reasons... for one, it's fun. For two, it's vegan-friendly. Not just vegetarian-friendly, but VEGAN-friendly. Like, you can get pretend vegan pizza."

So, now that you want to win one really, really bad, you're in luck. Because we're gonna give one away!! (and again, so sorry to our friends out of the U.S., but we can only ship prizes within the U.S.) So, here's what you have to do for your shot at this awesome prize:

1. "Like" our pages on Facebook: Both the Radiant Health, Inner Wealth page and also the Animal Matters page
2. Follow this blog, where we will announce the winner on Wednesday, November 9th. To follow, simply scroll down the right side and click to "Join this Site"
3. Reply to this blog post and answer the question "What's your favorite vegan comfort food from your childhood?" (It can either be a dish that was originally vegan or one that you've veganized)

Thanks so much for playing...and let the awesome Fur and Feathers games begin!!

Vegan Japanese Book Giveaway Winner!

FUN! So, I just picked a winner at random for the Vegan Japanese Book Giveaway on my blog. And the winner is... "Janet at the Taste Spice." Congrats, Janet!!! You will love Miyoko's books. Send me your mailing address and we'll get those sweet babies mailed out to you pronto!

And stay tuned, friends...I'm cooking up another giveaway that will begin very soon! This time it's for the funnest, bestest kid's game ever, Fur & Feathers! Details soon. Thanks for stopping by...and let's all go to Janet's house for sushi and Japanese croquettes!!!

Green Bread (the ultimate vegan garlic bread!)

Many years ago, I was cooking for a family of four. Whenever I would make them this, their young son would do a happy dance and sing of his love for what he called “green bread.” Needless to say, this is a big hit with kids! Also keep in mind that you do not need to use all of this spread right away. It freezes surprisingly well, and also keeps in the fridge for at least a week.

Photo by Michelle Bebber

Green Bread

½ cup (1 stick) non-hydrogenated margarine
10 large cloves garlic, peeled (if it seems like too much, it’s almost enough)
2 tablespoons (lightly packed) fresh parsley
¼ cup (tightly packed) fresh basil
1 scallion (green onion), trimmed (use both white and green parts)
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Ze Bread: about 10 large slices of crusty multigrain or sourdough bread

1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. In a food processor, combine the margarine, garlic, parsley, basil, scallion, and salt until thoroughly “greenified” (and no chunks of garlic or scallion remain).
2. Spread this generously on the bread slices—don’t be shy! Bake just until golden browned (be careful not to over-brown) and serve immediately.

Serves about 10; 30 minutes or under! Blue according to the guidelines in my books)

Giveaway Time!!

Greetings, sweet ones! As many of you know, I just returned from my trip to California. There were many great aspects to my business/pleasure trip, but one of the best was meeting so many fantabulous people! One such human was Miyoko Schinner, whom I met at the San Francisco World Veg Fest (we were both speakers there). And you know what's really cool? I've been an admirer of her books for about twenty years (ever since I became vegan) and found out that she's an absolute foodie soul sister. Not just that, she's the queen of vegan Japanese cuisine and just a really sweet, lovely person. Oh, and also - her vegan recipes ROCK!

So, we've decided to do a giveaway of her two books (pictured in her mitts) right here, right now! The contest ends on October 26th and the winner will be selected at random. Please and sorry, only U.S. residents may enter. How to enter? Do these easy peasy THREE things:

1. Reply to this blog post with your answer to the question "What is your favorite vegan Japanese food?"
2. Follow this blog, if you aren't already (scroll down & click to "join this site")
3. "Like" my facebook page and Miyoko's facebook page, where we'll be announcing the winner on October 26th. You must pay attention, as we will not hire a private investigator to find you if you win!

Good luck, and now let's all go eat vegan sushi!!!

Vegan Peanut Butter Cup Shake

As you may have guessed, this richie rich is slightly more decadent than most of the other breakfast drinks in my books and on my blog. However, it still contains loads of nutrients and is very filling. This also works well as a meal in itself anytime you're hungry and want something quick and satisfying. And gooooood.

2 frozen bananas

2 tablespoons natural, creamy peanut butter

1-2 cup(s) nondairy milk* (see note at the bottom of this page)

1 cup nondairy ice cream (vanilla)

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (you may omit if using sweetened milk)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract (not artificial vanilla)

Place the bananas, peanut butter, and a little of the milk in your blender. Blend until the bananas are smooth. Add all of the other items and just enough of the milk to blend. Serve immediately.

Serves 2; 30 minutes or under! GF/SF/Blue (according to the health guidelines in my books)

*The less liquid you add, the richer and thicker it will be. I give an estimated amount here, as it will depend on your blender and size of the bananas as to how much milk you’ll have to add. Simply start with the lesser amount given, and add a little more at a time until you have just enough liquid to blend with.